Does it feel like your contractor website or service-based business doesn’t need a blog? Because it does. Let’s help you get started blogging.
A Blog is a Website with Benefits
We’re all manic about blogs. Everyone has one. It’s a little overwhelming at times but it needn’t be. It’s just a log. On the web. In fact, that’s where the term comes from. Weblog. Remember Captain Kirk at the start of every Star Trek episode? “Captain’s log stardate 31542.6. We are cautiously entering the Kappa Centauri star system on Federation business … “ Think of your blog as a public diary. A notebook of great ideas that you share.
It might be confusing. Is my blog a separate website? Is it a page on my website? Is it another system entirely? Why should I even have a blog? The answer to that last question is “benefits.” A blog is a website with benefits.
What’s the difference between the two? Websites and blogs are essentially the same, right? Blogs are updated frequently. They are short and sweet. They are flexible. A website is mostly static and rarely changes. When was the last time you updated the mission statement on your website? 2015? A blog is updated daily, weekly, or monthly. Okay, let’s stick with weekly.
Blogs also allow for a very important thing: user engagement. A blog allows conversation, comments, and sharing on social media. They make connections with our audience and with each other. They also help our website be found in that huge collection of content we call the Internet.
“The more you can publish, the more traffic you will have. It’s been studied time and again. Once a week is a minimum and four times a week seems aggressive but can be effective.” Bridget Willard
What Makes a Great Blog?
A blog post is not a journalistic article. People are used to seeing news articles and writing that way. A blog post is more like an infomercial. You want to have consumable, bite-sized chunks of content that people can scan (and tweet).
- create relevant content for your reader — this is about them, not you
- quality before quantity — better one filet steak than twelve frozen burgers
- offer tips and tricks for added value — this is content marketing!
- topical and current information — that people are looking for, that is trending
- make it personal — write from the hip – develop trust
7 Important Ways Your Business Profits from Blogging
Improves Your Search Engine Presence
Most blog posts don’t rank on the first page of Google and are, therefore, practically invisible. After all, who looks at the hit list after page 1? However, your SEO performance can be significantly increased through blog posts. More content, more updates to your website, more clicks, more shares. It’s a no-brainer. However, many companies make the mistake of setting up a corporate blog without previously set goals, content strategy, or topic-specific orientation. Don’t be that company.
Blogging Creates New and Dynamic Content for Your Website
If you manage a blog properly and integrate it with existing pages, your site can benefit from a steady stream of new, dynamic content. This can positively impact your SEO ranking and add value for visitors. This also has a positive impact on the perception of your business. Think in advance about how your channels mesh and how your blog interacts with your social channels. Consider how articles will be integrated into the content pages of your website, too.
Makes Your Content more Accessible to Your Customers
Need content for your social media channels? Meet your blog posts! Intelligent posting increases traffic to your website but also boosts your social media channels. Don’t simply spread the same content on different channels though. Your Twitter posts should be clearly different from your Facebook posts.
“When you write a blog post it’s more than just an essay that you used to write for school projects. You need to write in a way that’s educational, informative, and slightly entertaining. This is marketing copy; it’s not a term paper.” Bridget Willard
Blogging Gives Your Customers Access to Expert Content
Do you want to position your company as an expert in a certain subject area? A blog can have a supporting effect. Let the experts behind your business have their say in your blog. This might just be you, but it’s your time to shine! Position yourself as a GoTo source of information. Become a Destination.
Let’s Your Customers See the Personal Side of Your Business
What works well on blogs are personal views that stimulate discussion on a particular topic. Customer experiences. Tips and Tricks. People want to feel comfortable, and they want to know you are talking with them – personally. Dare to show real opinions on matters people care about. Your blog offers a wonderful opportunity to show empathy with your customers. It’s about being real.
It’s a Super Lead Generation Opportunity
Blog posts can cover formats for awareness along the customer journey. A blog can serve both the superficial as well as the deeper knowledge transfer and can form an important pivot in content marketing. Once people have read your posts and developed trust in what you are saying, they will take the opportunity of signing up for your newsletter or filling out a contact form. Bazinga!
A Blog is Your Own(ed) Media
Your blog has the advantage over social media of being your own. You control the content. You have the upper hand in everything from design, what is published, and how you use the content. More importantly, studies show that owned media, such as blogs and websites, are trusted more than social media channels.
“I always say I put words on the internet. What I’m doing is writing an article to show people how to do something, and to tell them why to do it that way. Think reading Julia Child’s blog post so that you can go ahead and make a meal to impress the boss. Now you’re going to continue watching Julia Child’s blog for more interesting posts and you’re maybe going to buy her book.” Warren Laine-Naida
Wrapping it up
Your blog is a long game. So is SEO. And your savings account. So is your entire business. Take a strategic approach, have a recognizable goal, know your target group, and regularly write about topics useful to your audience. It’s going to be time-consuming, sure, but it’s an investment.
- A lot of social media action
- market news you have thought about
- other blog posts you read
- that podcast you listened to
- your frequently asked questions page is filling up with customer queries over the last seven days …
There’s your blog post!
Extra tip: Do you send newsletters to your clients? Send it to them, then a week later there’s your blog post in green!
Even if you have social media, a blog is still very worthwhile. Why? It’s content on your website. Your owned media. Yours. Provided posts bring added value and fit into your content strategy. Approach blogging strategically and pursue it long-term. It’s to your customer’s benefit and your own!
Not everyone is Ernest Hemingway. I get that. You probably could use some help, and help is out there. Grammarly will help you craft a post that will make your old high school English teacher swoon. The Hemingway app will make you feel like Papa. If that isn’t enough, there’s even a free WordPress plugin that will prompt you with twelve months of blog posts. That’s like an entire year!
Launch With Words is a WordPress plugin that combines the experience of a small business writer with blogging prompts to encourage you to publish once a month.
About the Author — Warren Laine-Naida
Warren Laine-Naida is a Digital Consultant, Teacher, and Author currently working with schools, small businesses, and nonprofits in Germany, the UK, and the USA on their digital solutions.